James Harrell (actor)

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James N. Harrell
Born James Nelson Harrell
(1918-09-03)September 3, 1918
Waco, Texas
Died February 1, 2000(2000-02-01) (aged 81)
San Marcos, Texas
Occupation Actor

James Nelson Harrell (September 3, 1918 – February 1, 2000), also known as James N. Harrell, was an American actor.

Life and career[edit]

He was born in Waco, Texas, to Margaret Teny and Jefferson Whitfield Harrell, Chair of the Baylor University Mathematics Department, graduated from Waco High School and Baylor University. He held a master's degree in Drama from Trinity University. He studied acting at the original Baylor Theater with Paul Baker in the 1930s and in 1940 was invited to join Michael Chekhov's Acting Studio in Ridgefield, Connecticut. He toured the East Coast with that company and was playing Twelfth Night when the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, and most plays closed. Harrell served in the United States Army for four years in a tank company, in Headquarters Eighth Service Command, in Special Services, and in Occupied Japan. James Harrell, also known as "little Jimmy Harrell from Waco, Texas", appeared in over 75 film productions; feature films and television. He taught acting at the Dallas Theater Center and had leading roles in numerous productions, including 'Anse Bundren' in Journey to Jefferson, which toured Paris, Belgium and Germany. He also taught stage and film acting at Southwest Texas State University for 24 years, retiring in 1994 as an associate professor. He had roles in such films as JFK, Varsity Blues, Michael, Hope Floats, Leap of Faith, Paper Moon, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Flesh and Bone, and Noon Wine. He worked often with Sam Shepard, Barry Corbin, Tommy Lee Jones, Jeff Bridges, Gary Busey, Roberts Blossom, Wilford Brimley, James Gammon and Harlan Jordan. He died in 2000 from a heart attack.

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